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Listen Up! Gen Z and Millennials Tell Us What They Think

GGS Monthly Meeting & Program
Monday, August 28
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
7039 Mission Road
Note: Meetings now return to the Social Hall on the lower level

Among a host of entrenched problems, gun violence looms large for young adults who’ve grown up with active shooter drills and the near daily media coverage of mass shootings. Increasingly, their voices are raised, their votes are cast and their peers are elected to grapple with problems older generations have wrestled with for decades.
Together, the generations can make a difference. On August 28, join us to hear from three area high school and college students who consider gun violence among their top concerns, along with climate change, reproductive health care, and LGBTQ+ rights. The Gen Z and Millennial generations represent a formidable voting bloc whose influence was felt in the 2022 mid-term elections. Their votes plus those of voters ages 55 and older represent a political force to reckon with, now and in the future.
Get a “sneak peek” at the conversations sure to surface at GGS’ 10th Annual Community Forum, Gun Safety – Generations Standing Together, on Monday, October 9. Buy a ticket for you and a friend at the August 28 meeting.

No Quick Fix to Slowing KCMO Homicides

Reducing homicides in Kansas City, MO, will require collaboration and innovation from city government and community groups plus patience from neighborhoods and their residents, according to speakers at GGS’ July program.
“We can’t do it all by ourselves,” said Rick Jones, a KCPD Community Engagement Officer with 25 years of law enforcement experience. His comments were echoed by Darren Faulkner, program manager for KC Common Good, and Melesa Johnson, KCMO’s director of public safety and the originator of Partners for Peace. They spoke to 60 people attending the program.
As one example, Johnson outlined a new City Hall inter-department effort to prevent violent crime by focusing not only on people but also on places where it occurs. That means involving the revenue department to more closely monitor licensing of problem businesses, the public works department to clear abandoned properties more quickly, and the parks department to focus on areas that have “become breeding grounds for illegal activity,” she said.
The city is on pace for one of the deadliest years on record with 144 homicides recorded as of July 30th.

Reducing homicides will take a coordinated, multi-level effort of “prevention, intervention and enforcement,” according to panelists Melesa Johnson, KCMO’s Director of Public Safety; Rev. Darren Faulkner, program manager for KC Common Good; and KCPD Officer Rick Jones of its Community Engagement Division.


Some 60 attendees listen intently to the discussion at July’s GGS program on reducing homicides.

10th Annual Community Forum Spotlights Advocates of the Year

Advocating for gun reform requires the often-herculean efforts of exceptionally dedicated people. At previous Community Forums, GGS has recognized a wide variety of local individuals and organizations for their advocacy including doctors, lawyers, community activists, the media and law enforcement. Read on to learn more about the 2023 Advocates of the Year to be honored in October at this year’s Forum.

Dr. Marvia Jones: Working to Prevent Violence

When Grandparents for Gun Safety needed direction navigating KCMO City Hall in efforts to pass a resolution warning of the danger of firearms, Dr. Marvia Jones, director of the city’s health department, led the way.
“Dr. Jones helped us know what departments to contact and how best to position what we wanted to accomplish,” said GGS founder and president Judy Sherry of the months-long work to win passage of the resolution. “We couldn’t have done it without her.”
Passed in April 2022, the resolution acknowledged “the health risks associated with firearm ownership” and also recognized GGS’ “work to reduce gun violence in our community.”
Violence prevention has been one of Dr. Jones’ top priorities in her 16 years of working in public health. “It is important that we prevent all forms of violence, early and often,” Dr. Jones said. “Gun violence is the most salient form of violence that we face today, but we know that its perpetrators and victims have endured many instances of other forms of violence that go unseen.”
Originally from Florida, Dr. Jones has lived in KCMO for 13 years except for two years in Atlanta completing a fellowship at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She joined the city’s health department in 2019 and became director in February 2022, overseeing its $33 million budget and its 200 employees.
She received her bachelor’s degree in chemical science from Florida State University, then earned both her Master of Public Health degree and her PhD in behavioral psychology from the University of Kansas.

Colonial Church of Prairie Village: Landlord & Partner

Oftentimes tenants renting space complain about their landlords. Not so with Grandparents for Gun Safety and Colonial Church of Prairie Village, its landlord for monthly meetings and office space.
“Whenever we have a problem, Colonial’s Senior Minister Rev. Aaron Roberts and office administrator Heather Winker immediately step up to help us solve it,” said Judy Sherry. “Colonial is truly a valued partner, not just because it’s where we hang our hat, but because it shares our commitment to reduce gun violence.”
That commitment of the United Church of Christ (UCC) dates back 28 years when its General Synod passed a powerful resolution entitled “Guns and Violence.” The UCC’s 1995 resolution invited its members and congregations to advocate for legislation that would strengthen licensing and registration of gun sales, strengthen regulations affecting gun dealers and also ban semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
“The vision of the peaceable kingdom of God is deeply rooted in Judaism and Christianity. Gun violence is the antithesis of this vision,” said Rev. Roberts. “As a community of faith, we pray and work for a better world. Our being recognized by Grandparents for Gun Safety is an honor and encourages us to do even more.”
In addition to gun reform, the church and its 250 members also support programs directed at hunger, homelessness, domestic violence, the environment, incarceration and interfaith dialogue, among other issues.
This November marks the 75th anniversary of its first worship service, which was held in the nearby parsonage. On September 8, 2024, the congregation will celebrate 75 years of worshiping at its current location at 7039 Mission Road.
Click here for details on Forum sponsorships and registration.

Did You Know?

Gun violence has killed more than 24,000 people in the U.S. so far this year, including more than 1,000 people under the age of 18.   

                                                   – PBS NewsHour, July 24, 2023

What’s a Ghost Gun and Why Does It Matter?

Like ghosts in a horror story, these weapons and their numbers are frightening.

Ghost guns are unregulated and untraceable firearms built from kits that anyone, including minors and otherwise prohibited purchasers, can buy and assemble without a background check.

These kits have all the necessary parts to turn an unfinished frame or receiver into a fully functioning weapon, and can be purchased online or at gun shows. In either case the marketing emphasizes “no background check required,” and neither is any interaction with a federally licensed dealer.

Last year, police departments seized at least 25,700 ghost guns nationwide. No current federal restrictions exist regulating who can buy a kit or how many can be bought. This dangerous loophole undermines whatever current gun-related legislation exists.

Teenagers have proven to be a particularly fertile market for ghost guns after discovering how easy it is to acquire the parts, then build and shoot the weapons. The nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety compiled a list of more than 50 incidents involving teens and ghost guns since 2019. If you’re a Washington Post subscriber, read the full story here.

Unlike storybook ghosts, ghost guns are real, causing real damage and deaths. We need to advocate adding their regulation to the long list of critically needed gun reform legislation.

Say Their Names

Last year, Kansas City, Missouri, suffered the second-highest number of homicides in the city’s history, recording 171. When including other nearby cities, the metro area recorded 264 homicides. To date this year, 144 homicides have been recorded. 

We say the names of the most recent victims as a way to honor their lives, while we keep true to our vision that one day everyone in our community will be safe from gun violence.

Mark Your Calendar

Monday, August 28 GGS Monthly Meeting & Program 
Listen Up! Gen Z and Millennials Tell Us What They Think
4:00 to 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 7039 Mission Road
Meetings return to the lower-level Social Hall

Monday, September 18 GGS Monthly Meeting & Program
Guns and Domestic Violence: Even More Deadly 
4:00 to 5:30 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village, 7039 Mission Road
Note: date changed due to the observance of Yom Kippur

October – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Our Vision

All members of our community have the right to feel safe from gun violence.

Our Mission

We focus on working for solutions, educating the community and seeking common ground reform that respects the rights of gun owners and non-owners alike.




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